Tips to Preventing Skin Cancer

More sun and increased time spent outdoors can mean more risks for skin cancer. May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, so there is no better time to cover tips for preventing skin cancer.

Who doesn’t love a bright, sunny day? I’m sure there is a scientific reason why we feel better and happier when the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky. However, while the sun seems to be good for our minds and spirit, it can also be a danger to our bodies if we’re not careful.

Here are some tips to play it safe while enjoying the sun-filled days:

  • If you are planning to be outdoors, always apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out—even on cloudy days. It is recommended to use sunscreen which has a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 30.
  • Reapply water or sweat-proof sunscreen every 2 hours if sweating or swimming.
  • Cover up. Wearing protective clothing, hat and sunglasses will provide an extra layer of protection between UV rays and your skin.
  • Don’t burn. It is reported that a Melanoma risk significantly increase after sunburns.
  • Seek shade. If you are not able to limit time outdoors between 10 am and 3 pm, stay in shaded areas if possible. Between those times is when the UV rays are strongest.
  • Don’t use tanning beds. If you’re looking for a golden glow, check out a sunless, self-tan spray. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. are linked to indoor tanning and the risk for skin cancer is increased by 75 percent for tanning bed users.

Get your skin checked by a dermatologist, or your family medical professional who specializes in skin, annually and do a self-check monthly. If you notice any new or changing skin spots, get them examined by your doctor right away. Detection and prevention is key and with early detection and prompt treatment, skin cancer is nearly always curable.